October 23, 2021
"Trust God for Less Failings and More Victories"
Our almost-two-year-old grandson enjoys having a certain book read to him. It helps him learn his colors as it pictures various items of apparel such as “red shirts” and “blue pants”. However, what he enjoys most is that every couple of pages it shows a certain character misusing a piece of clothing, such as putting a pair of pants on top of his head or covering his nose with a sock. One word is repeatedly written on those pages – “oops!” My grandson seems to take great delight in coming to one of those pages and gleefully joining whomever is reading to him by shouting “oops!”
We all have our “oops” moments. We make mistakes, we experience accidents, or we face the consequences of our momentary carelessness or weakness. We probably don’t take pleasure in those occurrences, but we tolerate them and have learned to expect them as faulty human beings. But what about our “oops” moments when it comes to doing what’s right and following God’s will for us? What about when we slip up when temptation comes our way or when we fail to do what we know God wants us to do? I doubt that any of us joyfully shout “oops” on those occasions. However, are we experiencing them so regularly that they don’t bother us anymore? Do we just consider it to be the norm that we will have those spiritual stumbles and falls on an everyday basis as we go from page to page in our lives?
Some people point to Paul’s experience related in Romans 7 to suggest that we can’t expect anything better than to have constant struggles about doing God’s will and to regularly succumb to willful disobedience. After all Paul writes, “For to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice” (v.18-19). So this is describing the situation in which even though we may want to do the right thing, we often find ourselves unable to do it. We keep saying “oops” over and over and over again.
However, Paul’s description of this condition doesn’t stop there. He doesn’t just give in to it or begin to take it lightly. It deeply disturbs him. He cries out, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me…?” Then he provides the wonderful answer: “I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (v.25). The good news is that through Jesus we can be delivered from constant wrongdoing. We can even find relief from that ongoing struggle within us between our will and God’s will if we will surrender ourselves completely to Him. Not that we won’t ever face that battle, but it will be less frequent and not as difficult if we’ve settled in our hearts that we are committed to pleasing the Lord and serving Him above all else.
Yes, we have spiritual weaknesses. As Hebrews 12:1 indicates, we have sins that easily ensnare us and faulty tendencies that can weigh us down. But it also declares that we can lay those aside and can run the race the way God wants us to do so. We can determine to make better choices. We can surrender ourselves fully to Christ. And we can trust Him to deliver us and give us power to overcome those weights which hold us back.
So let’s trust God for less “oops” moments in our lives and for more victories as we seek to faithfully follow Jesus.